Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Sunday, December 04, 2022 18:42:14|
Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali 2022: 3 - Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali 2022
Friday, November 25, 2022
We boarded a Singapore Airlines 787 for the two hour flight to Denpasar, Bali after taking the hotel car for transport. We were met by a very nice wheel chair lady who quickly got us through the series of checks it is necessary to endure to enter Bali, avoiding all the queues. Marilynn had done the on line customs form which we would recommend for anyone coming to Bali. It avoids some tedious lines. Marilynn bought a sim card in the airport where there is a choice of suppliers, and our wheel chair lady then got us out of the terminal where a long line of drivers had signs with client names. Our driver, Dewa Paran, was among them.
After a very slow trip in more stop than go traffic we travelled the 5 km to the Sheraton Hotel. The drive took an hour and a half. The hotel entrance was difficult to find, as there was only one white on black sign. Dewa turned into a dark alley where we were stopped by a very large barrier. Guards were there to check our reservation and go over the car thoroughly including mirrors under the car to look for bombs. We’d seen nothing like it since we were in Afghanistan.
The hotel was not impressive. We entered a huge room with a bar off in the distance and desks with check in clerks. No one else was there. Our suite was billed as beach and ocean view, but in reality it looked out on the distant ocean behind a row of houses and large trees across from the road we arrived on. No beach was visible.
The room temperature was freezing cold. We turned off an air conditioning control and went to bed, but the cold kept us awake. We were both up in the wee hours finding other air conditioning controls and shutting then down one by one. It was a truly miserable night. This Sheraton is to be avoided.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
We escaped the hotel for our 8 AM pickup and once again entered heavy traffic, but unlike last night it was moving. Dewa stopped at a small open air restaurant where we had a super breakfast. The drive to Taman Sari Bali Resort took a little over three hours, during which we climbed over the central mountain range, stopped for lunch at the top of the hills where the restaurant had incredible views. En route we passed two fairly large lakes and did some photo stops for Marilynn.
We checked into Taman Sari resort hoping for a beach front bungalow but they were booked. Our similar bungalow was three rows back from beach, restaurant or anything else. Walking isn't something I do comfortably.
There was sand on the beach, but the ocean bottom was rocky with a couple of areas of sand to get out to swimming depth. The ocean was beautifully warm and crystal clear. I was able to admire coral and fish with no mask or snorkel.
Dinner was at a table on the beach. Marilynn did better than I on a menu choice, but the ambience was first rate. We were dead tired and into bed early. The bathroom here is a large out door area with a high wall around it containing the toilet, sink and shower.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Our bed is one that shakes every time someone moves. It came with only a sheet, and we were both cold. Marilynn ordered a blanket, wrapped herself in it an went to sleep. I didn't want to wake her, as she is having her own aches and pains, so got my travel vest and laid it open over me, providing enough warmth to get a little sleep. I was up at 5:30 AM and on the computer on our front patio.
We paid extra to have breakfast delivered, as my ankle and leg are very painful today. After breakfast we made the long trek to the spa building, where we each had a good 90 minute massage. The difference to my leg was amazing, there was far less pain as we hiked to the restaurant area. We had our meals at a table for two in the sand beside the ocean.
Internet in our bungalow is chancy - sometimes it connects and sometimes not, but I was able to make a good effort in catching up on the 72 emails awaiting me. Marilynn was on her phone supervising the pool she was having built at our condo project in Costa Rica, and our caretaker at home. It was a new experience to take work with us when we travel.
There are three well mannered male dogs that hang around on the beach. I'm told they belong to people in the village and that they come each day. They are well groomed and fed, so obviously not strays. Of course, we made friends with them. Marilynn was going to return to our bungalow via the small shop so I went for the direct route. I got lost and as my leg was starting to hurt I went back to the beach and lay on one of the double width sun beds, . I knew Marilynn would come, as I had the key. It was some time before she found me, asleep with one of the dogs dozing on the sand beside me, and another on the bed, curled up, using me for a pillow.
We had a swim, a good dinner on the beach, then back for an early night. I now had a blanket as well.
Monday, November 28, 2022
Marilynn had a bad night with her leg hurting. I was up again at 5:30 AM on the computer on our patio, watching the gardeners using a short stick to pick up every fallen leaf on the grass. Breakfast was delivered before our massage . They were happy to have the business - covid is still causing problems - the resort has only 30% occupancy, mainly from Germany.
We swam a short while, but the sea is full of floating garbage - paper, cardboard, plastic, the odd shoe and so on. This is from heavy rains washing out the river beds. There are signs warning of stone fish, spiny sea urchins and sharp rocks with advice to go a couple of hundred meters down the beach before entering the sea in a sandy area.
Marilynn hired a dive boat for 2 hours to snorkel where the guide felt was the best spot. The sea was quite clear, but the coral was dead and there were only a few tiny fish. The driver brought us back an hour early and after tying up the boat we swam in front of where we were staying, where he saw turtles earlier in the day. They were still there, one very big and two a little smaller.
Marilynn protested as we got only half the boat time we paid for, but they really didn't care. There was pounding rain in the afternoon & evening so for the first time supper was under a roof. Itchy bites broke out all over my body from something in the sea. It didn't affect Marilynn.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
As soon as it was light I was on the patio on the computer. After breakfast and a massage we were picked up by a comfortable van from Alam Anda, our next resort. Marilynn sat in the front seat beside the driver, something she soon regretted as the driver wound his way through traffic on the narrow road at high speed. There are swarms of motor cycles on the road, but they seem to have a system worked out where when our driver wanted to pass another vehicle, he ignored on coming motor cycles. They didn't seem to mind pulling over to the shoulder of the road as we went by. Marilynn was in terror!! There are no speed limits in Bali.
The accommodation Han had arranged for us at Alam Anda was amazing. The whole resort is beautifully done. We had our own private compound in front of the sea with two separate hotel rooms, each with their large, attached bathroom facilities and a good sized private swimming pool. There was wine and beer in the fridge so we played and drank in the pool for the rest of the afternoon.
A door in the wall opens onto a walkway along the rock edge of the sea to the restaurant, where we had an excellent meal. We slept separately as my itches were severe and getting to sleep was not easy.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Due to the continuing annoying itches I wasn't sleeping much. Marilynn and I continued with separate rooms so I didn't keep her awake. We also had a massage after breakfast each morning - the spa was only a few steps from our compound. The beach was rocky, so we didn't swim. I wasn't keen on getting into the water again anyhow. There were very few guests - covid is still taking a toll. The food was not as good as the last place, but my leg continued to improve with the daily massages.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Wonderful lazy day. Breakfast, a massage, then laying around our compound hopping in and out of our pool. Dinner was in the restaurant.
Friday, December 2, 2022
After breakfast and a massage we were picked up by Dewa, our original driver with whom Marilynn felt much more comfortable, to go to Ubud. This is where Alam Inda, our long time favourite hotel, is located. The owner, Ibu Wayan, has now expanded into four hotels which our friend Han runs. Due to stairs at Alam Inda, Han arranged a large room with open air bathroom facilities on the ground floor at adjacent Alam Shandi. To celebrate our reunion a large buffet was arranged on our patio featuring duck and many other delicacies.
We originally met Han on an Antarctic expedition on the ship Explorer, where he was a guide in 1998, about 22 years earlier. We have stayed in touch over the years, travelling together and meeting where possible.
Saturday, December 3, 2022
We spent the day at the hotel, where we met Michael who was also involved with expedition ships. We knew several of the same crew and captains. The conversation turned to criticizing big cruise ships doing Antarctic cruises, as they are not built for it. We predicted a disaster one day. Interestingly the next day we got the news about one of the big ships which was struck by a huge wave that blew out one or more windows. A guest was killed by the broken glass being blown into the ship, and another 22 were injured. Our point made!!
We walked to a small restaurant in the nearby village for dinner with Han.
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Our tradition of massages daily continued. After the massage today we swam in the big, crystal clear pool at Alam Shandi. Another banquet was laid on by Han for our farewell dinner, highlighted by suckling pig and duck. Again, there were many choices of delicious food. We were honoured when Abu Wayan, now 74, who with her husband founded the hotels and a downtown restaurant in Ubud. joined us for dinner. She remembered us from our last visit many years ago. Michael also joined us.
Dewa picked us up to take us to the airport after fond farewells at the hotel. A Philippines Airlines flight at 1 AM the following morning will start our return journey home.